Meijer, Inc., secures summary dismissal of fall claim arising out of puddle on grocery floor
When one of its shoppers suffered injury after falling in a puddle of water, Meijer, Inc., defended the claim by arguing that the woman could not prove that an employee created the puddle or should have discovered it before her fall. Her attorneys pointed to the fact that the puddle was adjacent to the employee entrance to the store, and that employees were stocking the shelves at the time of the fall.
The trial judge and the appellate court concluded that the evidence pointing to an employee cause--or that the puddle should have been discovered--was "mere speculation and conjecture." The appeals judges ruled that "another customer and not defendant's employees, created the spill" and that it would not require the defendant "to conduct exhaustive inspections over every square inch of its premises to search for virtually invisible hazards..." It has now become acceptable even for judges to use hyperbole in rejecting injury victims' claims.